It's Time for a Change in College Park
Mark Turgeon is not the answer for the challenges that face Terps basketball
Not long after becoming the Athletic Director at the University of Maryland, Kevin Anderson brought his axe to work and started remaking the school’s flagship teams.
First to fall for Ralph Friedgen, who was cashiered for no particularly good reason. Anderson hired the disastrous Randy Edsall and once he got pushed out the door hired the disastrous D.J. Durkin. Ten years of Friedgen’s progress has led to ten years of regression for a Maryland team that hasn’t won a bowl game since…the 2010 Military Bowl and Friedgen’s last game as coach.
Next up was the men’s basketball team. Legendary coach Gary Williams retired, though many believe he was pushed out the door by Anderson. Anderson hired Mark Turgeon away from Texas A&M to be the new coach. It wasn’t exactly an inspired choice, but Turgeon was a good recruiter and the team needed great talent to consistently compete in the ACC (at the time).
The results have been….mixed. While Turgeon has kept the program’s nose clean and has been a fantastic recruiter, the Terps have one Sweet 16 appearance in Turgeon’s ten years at the helm. That’s as many as Turgeon had at Wichita State (not exactly a major program at the time) in five years.
In comparison, in his first ten years Gary Williams took the team to the Sweet 16 four times. In year twelve he went to the Final Four. In year 13, the Terps won the National Championship.
This year is so far starting off poorly for the Terps. The team is 5-2, but that covers up a few games that they should have realistically lost. A comeback win over Richmond and a two-point win over Hofstra is not a great look, especially after a loss to a George Mason team that is not anything like their 2011 Final Four team.
The problem is the on court coaching. Gary Williams wasn’t a great recruiter, but he got more than the sum of his parts on the court from his players. The Terps under Williams were the ultimate overachievers.
Turgeon is a great recruiter but a bad X’s and O’s coach. Turgeon’s Terps are the ultimate underachievers.
I don’t know who should be the head coach at Maryland to replace Turgeon. Maybe Brenda Frese wants to give it a shot. But it’s time for a change for the Terps so the players can maximize their potential and so the school can get the biggest bang for their buck.